Disturbing reports have surfaced from the Syrian Christian town of Al-Ghassaniyah in the western countryside of the Idlib Governorate, as displaced civilians have recounted the inhuman events that transpired after militants linked to the Syrian Opposition entered their homes and declared control over this mountainous area of Syria.
Former residents of Al-Ghassaniyah reported that their homes, businesses, and churches were all seized unlawfully by members of the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their affiliates from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Ajnad Al-Sham; these same militants, in turn, have not only evicted the remaining Christian residents, but also, summarily executed those who did adhere to their policies.
The first atrocity committed in the peaceful town of Al-Ghassaniyah was the brutal execution of the 49 year old Priest, Father François Mourad; this priest originally sought refuge from the terrorist groups at the Franciscan Convent of St. Antonius, until they apprehended and summarily executed him on film.
According to testimonies from the displaced civilians of Al-Ghassaniyah, a large presence of foreign militants and their families have now moved into their homes, including a Chechen emir of Jabhat Al-Nusra that now occupies the large residential complex at the Franciscan Convent of St. Antonius with his family.
In addition to evicting Christians from their homes, the militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham proceeded to spray-paint sectarian epithets onto public buildings; this is reminiscent of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) spray-painting the Arabic letter “nuun” (for “Nusrani” or “Christian” in English) onto the homes of Iraqi Christians in the Nineveh Governorate.